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Growth Hacking 101

Whether you're launching a new company or a new product or service within a firm that's stood the test of time, you can use growth hacking strategies to your advantage.



Editor’s Note: There are only a handful of honest-to-goodness celebrities in market research, folks who have risen to massive prominence due to their brilliance, industry impact, and success. Kristin Luck is one of those select few, and if you haven’t been following her, you’re going to have three chances to find out why she is one of the most respected leaders in market research. Lucky you!

First, Kristin wrote the post below for NewMR (thanks for the repost permission Ray!), and it’s a wonderful primer on one of her claims to fame: accelerating growth for businesses.

Second, on Friday March 13, she’ll be giving a webinar on Growth Hacking. This webinar is provided by NewMR, is free, will be broadcast at 3pm London time (11am New York). Register by clicking here.

Third, Kristin will be conducting a Growth Hacking workshop (among other roles) at IIeX North America, June 15-17. THis intensive, hands on experience is a great complement to the IIeX focus on supporting start-ups in market research.

So enjoy the post, attend the webinar, and come join us in Atlanta for a Master Class in growing your business. See, I told you you were lucky!


By Kristin Luck

“Growth hacking” is a new term for most in the marketing measurement space but a long held practice among the best marketers and product managers in Silicon Valley. Although market researchers today are awash with data, we rarely use it for the benefit of our own businesses. With traditional media fading and the onslaught of mass customization & niching on the web, marketing as we’ve known it for the past 100 years is in a stage of transition- which means we have to become more creative about how we market marketing research.

As researchers, we often get so focused on solving the clients problem, digging into the data, or struggling to present our study results in a truly meaningful way that we neglect to give our businesses that same attention. We work IN our business so heavily that we forget to work ON our business. We push strategic planning aside, unless it’s on our client’s behalf. We don’t measure our own brand performance or marketing effectiveness. Instead of taking action we become reactionary.

Kristin Luck Webinar

Success doesn’t just happen. My start-ups and business ventures haven’t been successful because I was lucky or the timing was right, but rather as the result of thoughtful strategic planning, trial and error, measurement, more trial and error, and above all, a total commitment to the business vision. My field tested “growth hacking” approach is about mastering the shift (or sometimes a pivot) from one stage of business growth to the next. Why? When you know the mechanics behind building movement and tuning growth, you can master the shift. Building and tuning your business engine isn’t an art. It’s about having the right strategy, systems and tools so you can focus on what you do best- research.

Here’s how it works, growth hacking 101:

  1. Commit to your vision without ego and don’t be afraid to test your hypothesis. By that I mean, you may have the greatest idea in the world, a cool new product, a visionary new vertical, but if no one is interested in buying it, it’s not a viable business model. One of the toughest challenges for any entrepreneur or business leader is to admit that she’s wrong. Think of “no” as an opportunity for change (a pivot!), rather than a failure.
  2. Determine your engine of revenue growth. There are three engines of growth: sticky, viral and paid. Sticky depends heavily on client growth through retention. Viral depends on a product that inspires fanatical customers and evangelist clients. Paid means you have some serious cash to put toward your marketing efforts. Figure out what your engine of growth is and throw some serious muscle behind it. Be prepared for it to change over time.
  3. Iterate or pivot when required. Our industry is in a constant state of flux, which means your business is too. Keep a close eye on the development and evolution of your products and services. If sales are slowing, investigate. Iterate. Pivot, when necessary. Run toward change, not against it.
  4. Avoid vanity metrics. Vanity metrics make you feel (and look) good but they can be misleading. Make sure you’re using business and marketing KPI’s to provide actionable feedback- whether that’s positive or negative. A positive metric means you’re on the right track. A negative metric illuminates opportunities for change.

Whether you’re a business owner or a product manager within a Fortune 500 company, we’re either entrepreneurs or “intrapreneurs”. Whether you’re launching a new company or a new product or service within a firm that’s stood the test of time, you can use growth hacking strategies to your advantage. Build, measure, learn.

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2 responses to “Growth Hacking 101

  1. I know we English speakers from across the broad ocean are separated by a common language, but why “Hacking”? Hacking has negative connotations to me and suggests using other peoples resources illegally. I could see nothing in the article that suggests “hacking” as I know it. In fact most of the suggestions look like Strategy 101 rather than some new techniques. I do hope this doesn’t go into common usage like “gamification” and “co-creation”. We are full up with buzz terms in this industry.

    1. Fair enough Chris, but actually the term “hacking” in the IT and business world really means “a creative use of ingenuity to solve a problem”. The use or motivation of the “hack” isn’t part of the definition, just the function of trying to solve a problem with the tools at hand. It’s already a buzz term and has been for a long time, it’s just finally making it’s way into MR.

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